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‘If she never remembered me again’: Loving someone with dementia

The memory care centre lost two pairs of hearing aids and eight pairs of socks.

I was mad about the hearing aids, but the socks were a real sticking point for my mother. We had several phone conversations about them, but I always pretended I was hearing about it for the first time because people tell stories for all sorts of reasons and most of the time, the telling is as important as the story itself. If the telling was important to my mother, I was prepared to listen as many times as she liked.

The socks, it seems, were non-skid. The memory care centre ordered my mother to buy them since grandma kept falling, trying to get out of bed on her own. They were specific about the brand and my mother had to go to three different stores before she found them. They were not cheap, either – $80, which may or may not have included tax because I forgot to ask. Either way, they were expensive as far as socks were concerned.

After purchasing the socks, my mother took the time to write my grandma’s first and last name on each one in permanent ink, but after a week they were gone. Just disappeared into the laundry, never to return, like a 1950s husband stepping into the night for a pack of smokes.

Also missing: Multiple rolls of toilet paper. Toilet paper was one of the few staples not provided by the memory care centre, and now my mother had to make an extra trip to the store because it appeared one of the nurses had stolen grandma’s and taken it home. It might even have been several of the nurses working in concert for all we knew – divvying the toilet paper up into smaller parcels so they could smuggle it out the door underneath their shirts without getting caught.

All this for $9,000 a month.

The worst part was that we were afraid to complain. It was a nice facility, despite the issues. If we caused trouble, they might tell us to take our business elsewhere – to someplace that looked more like a hospital and less like a hotel.

So, my mother made a single inquiry about the socks and then let it drop.

But they have not heard the last from her. She is planning to post a scathing review on Yelp after grandma has gone.

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